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Mole!
Mole!
Description

About the Book

 

The fictional events narrated in Mole! an English translation of Otran, a novel by Ashokamitran take place within a period of seven months, nearly all of them in the American Midwest. The narrator, a culturally rooted writer from Chennai, is transplanted amidst a motley group of fellow-writers from distant parts of the world, all of them as dangerously dislocated as him. Deprived of the language that has brought them fulfilment and distinction, these writers struggle to retain their place of precarious honour in a strange, unfamiliar and sometimes hostile environment.

 

In his interactions with them, the writer-narrator is, by turns, engaged, helpful, engaging, frightened, distant, generous and cunning. He is easily moved by their sorrows, and frequently ironic about their many eccentricities. Always an interested witness to the life around him, but at a distinct remove from direct participation separated by language, temperament, and divergent sexual and social mores he becomes, in his impulses and responses, a mole in this new and complex human setting; a mole for his own world of art, imagination and culture. And in the background looms the endearing, if exasperating, landscape of twentieth- century America.

 

Kalyan Raman’s English translation illumines the subtle, spare strength of Ashokamitran’s prose. The mural of events is drawn with fine empathy.

 

About the Author

 

Ashokamitran one of the most distinguished contemporary Tamil writers, began his literary career with a prize-winning radio play in 1953. Since then he has written a number of short stories, novellas and novels. His work has been extensively translated into many Indian and European languages. The major English translations include Water, The Eighteenth Parallel, The Colours of Evil and Sand and Other Stories.

 

Ashokamitran lives and works in Chennai. He is a regular contributor to the literature page of The New Indian Express. His years of rich and diverse contribution to Tamil literature have brought him many honours and awards, including the Sahirya Akademi award in 1996.

 

N. Kalyan Raman took up translation in the mid 1990s. His translations of Tamil short stories have been included in several collections of Indian language fiction in translation. He has translated two important collections of Ashokamitran’s work-The Colours of Evil and Sand and Other Stories. He lives and works in Bangalore.

 

Foreword

 

Mole! is an English translation of Otran, a novel by Ashokamitran, the well-known Tamil writer and-winner of the Sahitya Akademi award (1996). Otran was originally published in 1985, and a second edition followed in 1995.

 

The fictional events narrated in’ Mole! take place overseas, nearly all of them in and around Iowa City ‘in Midwestern United States. A seven-month-long residential programme for international writers, conducted by the University of Iowa from Fall 1973 to Spring 1974, provides the backdrop for the book’s narrative.

 

What happens when a culturally rooted writer from Chennai is transplanted in a small town in the American Midwest of the mid 1970s-encountering for the first time the unfamiliar Protestant orderliness of city streets and living arrangements, the strange beauty and hostility of a snow-bound northern winter, and the vagaries of discount shopping in a chain store like K-mart? What happens when the writer-narrator is thrown willy-nilly amidst a motley group of fellow-writers from distant parts of the world, all of them as dangerously dislocated as him?

 

He finds that, deprived of the language that has brought them fulfillment and distinction, these writers struggle to retain their place of precarious honour, overcoming - sometimes successfully, but never happily - the tribulations of living alone in a foreign country. In his interactions with them, the writer-narrator is, in turns, engaged, helpful, engaging, frightened, remote, generous and cunning. He is easily moved by their sorrows, and frequently ironic about their many eccentricities. Ever an interested witness to the life around him, but at a distinct remove from direct participation - separated by language, temperament, and divergent sexual and social mores - he becomes, in his impulses and responses, a mole in this new and complex human setting; a mole for his own world of art, imagination and culture. Yet, as a mole solely for his own art, the narrator is without commission or support from any kingdom or state. He endures his daily treks across the bridges and barriers formed with his fellow writers - wrought simultaneously by their art and humanity - with a lonely, precarious dignity and an affinity not quite of this world.

 

Starting with the writer-narrator’s departure at Colombo airport on his trip abroad and ending with his inexorable parting from Iowa City and his writer-friends, the fourteen chapters of Mole! weave a rich tapestry cf events drawn from the experiences of the narrator and his curious engagement, during those seven months, with the writers who share his life in that alien country. Always in the background looms the endearing, if exasperating, landscape of America of the late twentieth century.

 

Through the unconventional structure and format of its narrative, Mole! evokes in the reader a profound excitement and a rich sense of the human world’s complexities.

 

Contents

 

 

Authors Note

vi

 

Translators Foreword

vii

l.

At the Airport

1

2.

Boat Ride

4

3.

Poetry Reading

13

4.

Garlic

16

5.

Ilaria

26

6.

The Fall

43

7.

That Other Bus Station

49

8.

K-mart Boots

55

9.

‘I’m Busy Right Now

64

10.

Mole!

72

1l.

Supermole

10l

12.

Mother’s Lies

124

13.

The Hall of Mirrors

132

14.

April 27, 1974

147

 

Afterword by A.R. Venkatachalaparhy

153

 

Sample Pages









Mole!

Item Code:
NAI333
Cover:
Paperback
Edition:
2010
ISBN:
9788125026822
Language:
English
Size:
8.5 inch X 5.5 inch
Pages:
170
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 200 gms
Price:
$29.00
Discounted:
$21.75   Shipping Free
You Save:
$7.25 (25%)
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About the Book

 

The fictional events narrated in Mole! an English translation of Otran, a novel by Ashokamitran take place within a period of seven months, nearly all of them in the American Midwest. The narrator, a culturally rooted writer from Chennai, is transplanted amidst a motley group of fellow-writers from distant parts of the world, all of them as dangerously dislocated as him. Deprived of the language that has brought them fulfilment and distinction, these writers struggle to retain their place of precarious honour in a strange, unfamiliar and sometimes hostile environment.

 

In his interactions with them, the writer-narrator is, by turns, engaged, helpful, engaging, frightened, distant, generous and cunning. He is easily moved by their sorrows, and frequently ironic about their many eccentricities. Always an interested witness to the life around him, but at a distinct remove from direct participation separated by language, temperament, and divergent sexual and social mores he becomes, in his impulses and responses, a mole in this new and complex human setting; a mole for his own world of art, imagination and culture. And in the background looms the endearing, if exasperating, landscape of twentieth- century America.

 

Kalyan Raman’s English translation illumines the subtle, spare strength of Ashokamitran’s prose. The mural of events is drawn with fine empathy.

 

About the Author

 

Ashokamitran one of the most distinguished contemporary Tamil writers, began his literary career with a prize-winning radio play in 1953. Since then he has written a number of short stories, novellas and novels. His work has been extensively translated into many Indian and European languages. The major English translations include Water, The Eighteenth Parallel, The Colours of Evil and Sand and Other Stories.

 

Ashokamitran lives and works in Chennai. He is a regular contributor to the literature page of The New Indian Express. His years of rich and diverse contribution to Tamil literature have brought him many honours and awards, including the Sahirya Akademi award in 1996.

 

N. Kalyan Raman took up translation in the mid 1990s. His translations of Tamil short stories have been included in several collections of Indian language fiction in translation. He has translated two important collections of Ashokamitran’s work-The Colours of Evil and Sand and Other Stories. He lives and works in Bangalore.

 

Foreword

 

Mole! is an English translation of Otran, a novel by Ashokamitran, the well-known Tamil writer and-winner of the Sahitya Akademi award (1996). Otran was originally published in 1985, and a second edition followed in 1995.

 

The fictional events narrated in’ Mole! take place overseas, nearly all of them in and around Iowa City ‘in Midwestern United States. A seven-month-long residential programme for international writers, conducted by the University of Iowa from Fall 1973 to Spring 1974, provides the backdrop for the book’s narrative.

 

What happens when a culturally rooted writer from Chennai is transplanted in a small town in the American Midwest of the mid 1970s-encountering for the first time the unfamiliar Protestant orderliness of city streets and living arrangements, the strange beauty and hostility of a snow-bound northern winter, and the vagaries of discount shopping in a chain store like K-mart? What happens when the writer-narrator is thrown willy-nilly amidst a motley group of fellow-writers from distant parts of the world, all of them as dangerously dislocated as him?

 

He finds that, deprived of the language that has brought them fulfillment and distinction, these writers struggle to retain their place of precarious honour, overcoming - sometimes successfully, but never happily - the tribulations of living alone in a foreign country. In his interactions with them, the writer-narrator is, in turns, engaged, helpful, engaging, frightened, remote, generous and cunning. He is easily moved by their sorrows, and frequently ironic about their many eccentricities. Ever an interested witness to the life around him, but at a distinct remove from direct participation - separated by language, temperament, and divergent sexual and social mores - he becomes, in his impulses and responses, a mole in this new and complex human setting; a mole for his own world of art, imagination and culture. Yet, as a mole solely for his own art, the narrator is without commission or support from any kingdom or state. He endures his daily treks across the bridges and barriers formed with his fellow writers - wrought simultaneously by their art and humanity - with a lonely, precarious dignity and an affinity not quite of this world.

 

Starting with the writer-narrator’s departure at Colombo airport on his trip abroad and ending with his inexorable parting from Iowa City and his writer-friends, the fourteen chapters of Mole! weave a rich tapestry cf events drawn from the experiences of the narrator and his curious engagement, during those seven months, with the writers who share his life in that alien country. Always in the background looms the endearing, if exasperating, landscape of America of the late twentieth century.

 

Through the unconventional structure and format of its narrative, Mole! evokes in the reader a profound excitement and a rich sense of the human world’s complexities.

 

Contents

 

 

Authors Note

vi

 

Translators Foreword

vii

l.

At the Airport

1

2.

Boat Ride

4

3.

Poetry Reading

13

4.

Garlic

16

5.

Ilaria

26

6.

The Fall

43

7.

That Other Bus Station

49

8.

K-mart Boots

55

9.

‘I’m Busy Right Now

64

10.

Mole!

72

1l.

Supermole

10l

12.

Mother’s Lies

124

13.

The Hall of Mirrors

132

14.

April 27, 1974

147

 

Afterword by A.R. Venkatachalaparhy

153

 

Sample Pages









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